So VH1 has been airing this "100 Greatest Songs of the 80s" thing. They let online fans vote on this one instead of their regular mix of artists, writers and personalities. Yes, it went just as bad as you're thinking.
Going into this thing my top five was:
5) Prince "When Doves Cry"
4) Duran Duran "Hungry Like The Wolf"
3) The Police "Every Breath You Take"
2) Michael Jackson "Thriller"
1) Michael Jackson "Billie Jean"
That's a good list right there! Before we go into what VH1 counted down let's get into these songs. "When Doves Cry" was the biggest song from one of the biggest movies of the 80s. It's the only hit song I can think of off the top of my head that doesn't have a bass line. That's fucking absurd. No really, it is. And that keyboard line? Oh my! Everyone knows it. bink bink-bink-bink bink-bink bink-bink. And you know you know excatly what I'm talking about.
The best Duran Duran single, probably not. The most popular? Definitely. "Hungry Like The Wolf" is a sort of new wave "Stairway To Heaven" at this point. Every white person knows it and just about all of them love it. This track gave LeBon and his cohorts international stardom and they used that fame to musically define the 80s. VH1 agreed with me in the placing of this song. Wow!
"Every Breath You Take," much like the last two picks, is one of those songs that you can name off the radio in about half a note - everytime. The Police at this point did what no band had really done since The Beatles, they ruled the world. This track still can give people chills, the track still gets played at weddings. A great 80s heartfelt track. Vh1 put it somewhere around number 40. Yeah.
Best video of all time? Yeah, sure is. Wanna agrue that point? You're an idiot. "Thriller" is one of the best MJ singles of all time, the best Halloween song of all time, the title track off arguably the best pop album of all time and then there's the zombie dance. Ah, the zombie dance! How I love you! Oh and let's not forget Vincent Price in a pop song. Absurd! This wasn't even top 10 for VH1, I can't see that. It's Thriller. Thriller
I have been known to argue that "Billie Jean" is the greatest pop song of all time. I've also said that MJ's performance of it on Motown's 25th Anniversary special might be the best pop performance of all time. For those of you who don't know he debuted a little number called the moonwalk during the act. If you don't know every word to this song you obviously have never listened to music. Honestly I don't really know what to say about this song, listen to it, it's greatness really does speak for itself.
VH1's top 5 are as follows:
5) Prince "When Doves Cry"
4) Michael Jackson "Billie Jean"
3) Duran Duran "Hungry Like The Wolf"
2) Def Leppard "Pour Some Sugar On Me"
1) Bon Jovi "Livin' On A Prayer
Okay, obviously I don't have a huge problem with their picks for 5 and 3 so let's just start at 4. When I heard about this show I said that I'd be quite angry if "Billie Jean" wasn't in the top 2, thinking that the only person who would be able to beat out MJ is himself with "Thriller." Apparently I was wrong as a bad drummer with one arm and a group of New Jersey trashbags one upped the obvious King Of Pop. Number 2? Well apparently in the fan voting there were lots of strippers casting their ballots as this song is nothing more than a strip club novelty and everyone knows it. Bon Jovi? Alright, I kinda give you this one. It was an overwhelmingly HUGE song. Every white person born since this song has come out knows the words to the chorus by the time they're two years old. You can't deny that this track defines 80s pop-rock yet beating out MJ, Duran and hell even Prince's tracks is a little much. I can see giving this a ranking somewhere around 7.
If you're into doom or shoegazer pop or into the bands My Bloody Valentine or Mazzy Star pick up the new Sunn0))) and Boris collaboration disc called "Altar" (it'll be in your local record store's metal section, don't let that disuade you) you will be pleased. Download the track "The Sinking Belle (Blue Sheep)" for a nice little taste.
The Music Jerk's 2006 Christmas mixtape track listing coming soon.